Project Guide

How to Build a Ground-Level Deck

1
DIG HOLES FOR POSTS
a diagram shows using a tube form to level a footing
  • Use batterboards and mason's string lines to lay out footing locations for a deck that is approximately 8 feet wide and 10 feet long. Use a posthole digger to dig six holes for 8-inch-diameter footings. Each hole should be 12 inches deep. 
  • There is no frost line since this is a freestanding deck. Use tube forms to level the footings about 1 inch above ground level. 
  • Approximate time for a novice (with a helper) to lay out footing locations, dig holes and level tube forms for this deck: 5-7 hours.
2
POUR CONCRETE AND PLACE POST ANCHORS
a diagram shows two people using string to check diagonals
  • Mix six 60-pound bags of ready-mix concrete in a wheelbarrow. Pour cement into the footings, then place post anchor bolts into the center of each footer before cement begins to harden. 
  • Align anchors with a long straight board. Check diagonal measurements to square the anchor positions. 
  • Approximate time (not including curing time): 3-4 hours.


Tip: Leave enough of the bolt above the footer to connect to the anchor.

3
ATTACH BEAMS TO POST ANCHORS
a diagram shows beams being attached to post anchors with nails
  • Use double 2 x 6 deck boards as beams. Attach them within the post anchors. Install a 1/2-inch-thick pressure-treated shim between the beams and one side of the anchor at each footing. The anchor is 3-1/2 inches wide and the beam is 3 inches thick. 
  • Approximate time: 2-3 hours.
4
CHECK BEAM ALIGNMENT
a diagram shows two people using string to check beam alignment
  • Check beam alignment and adjust as necessary to make certain beams are square. 
  • Approximate time: 30-45 minutes.
5
ATTACH RIM JOISTS AND ANGLE BRACKETS
diagram showing a rim joist being attached to a beam with an angle bracket
  • Attach 2 x 6 rim joists
    to the ends of the beams.
    Install angle brackets to provide additional support for the corner joints. 
  • Approximate time: 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
6
ATTACH INNER JOISTS TO BEAM FACES
diagram showing joist hangers being nailed to joists
  • Attach inner 2 x 6 joists to the beam faces with joist hangers. 
  • Approximate time: 3-5 hours.
7
ADD FASTENERS TO JOISTS
diagram showing fasteners being drilled into decking
  • Drive two fasteners through the board into the center of each joist. Position each fastener 3/4 to 1 inch from the edge of the board. 
  • Approximate time: 3-5 hours.
8
TRIM DECK IN STRAIGHT LINE
diagram showing a deck being trimmed with a circular saw
  • Snap a chalk line to mark a straight cutting line. Trim decking to length with a circular saw. 
  • Approximate time: 15-30 minutes.



How much does it cost to build a ground level deck? The cost for a ground level deck varies depending on the size of your deck. This impacts the tools and materials you'll need as well as how much time goes into building your deck. 


For help with installing your free-standing deck, contact the helpful experts at the The Home Depot Installation Services department.